Environmentalists in Vancouver, Washington are quietly encouraging a local developer to speed ahead with the Waterfront, a $1.3-billion real estate project on the Columbia River that will include office buildings, shops, and 3,300 apartment units.
The unusual alliance has everything to do with the location of the 32-acre project, two miles east of the site for one of the biggest oil terminals in the U.S. If the terminal clears environmental review, it will provide transhipment for up to 360,000 barrels per day of North Dakota oil, which would travel through downtown Vancouver, WA by rail.
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“The result is a sort of race to the crossing,” the Times reports. “If the Waterfront can get its bricks and mortar in the ground before the terminal is approved—possibly late [this] year, with litigation likely to follow—more people would be living and working near the oil-train line. Compounding what opponents, led by the city, say are the dangers of spills or derailments, would make the terminal’s path to approval steeper.”